One lure to catch them all

Posted at 12:42 PM, Sep 01, 2016

For the last few weeks, I’ve been taking one of the “hottest” lures out there for a test run. Most folks know about it by now and have been using it for at least a few months now. It’s called the “Whopper Plopper” from the folks at River2Sea.

I imagine a lot of you are rolling your eyes either because you’re tired of hearing about it or because you can’t believe it took me this long to get around to using it. Fact is, I first started hearing about this WP late this spring. I’m a member of a Facebook group called “Fishing The Susquehanna River” and it seemed like every day people were posting pictures of the smallmouth bass they caught using it.

Two things kept me from running out back then and buying a few. One, I wasn’t getting out that much to fish the river. Two, because I wasn’t fishing the river, or any other body of water for that matter, on a regular basis it was hard to justify the $12.99 - $16.99 price tag for one.

That all changed around early August. I was starting to get out fairly regularly on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings and I found a couple gift cards from Bass Pro that were left over from Christmas.

So I made the trek to Bass Pro one Sunday with the intention of buying one or two of them. Little did I know the hottest lure going was so hot it was nearly impossible to find. Bass Pro only had the 130 Series, the giant 5 inch, 1 and 3/8 oz. version of the Whopper Plopper. The guy working there said it would be another four days before they got in the smaller 90 Series model and they were having a hard time keeping them in stock. Grudgingly I picked up one in the 130 Series, Yoda color (because “Do or do not, there is no try” and I was hellbent on doing at this point) and went home to look for a rod stout enough to handle the massive thing.

The next morning I was out on the river testing it out. About 20 minutes in a fish blew up on it. The strike was so loud, so vicious it sounded like a gunshot. And yet somehow, the fish didn’t hook up.

No problem I thought. At least I knew it attracted fish, in fact it was the first bite I had gotten on a lure in weeks. For another hour I chucked the WP along the river getting two more strikes but no hook ups. One fish even pulled it under but must have grabbed the spinning tail and not the rear treble hook.

At that point, it became clear the 90 Series would be a better option and I drove over to Susquehanna Fishing Tackle to pick up one or two. The guys there know there stuff and are always super helpful, plus as the owner once remarked, he owns the “largest tackle box in Lancaster County!” So imagine my surprise when I got there and found the shelves empty of Whopper Ploppers. Apparently they had been expecting a larger order of them, but it had only been coming in a few at a time. I gave them my name and number and a few days later when they got a large shipment in, they gave me a call.

I drove over the next day and $60 later I had three in the 90 Series and one in the 130. Hey, it never hurts to have a backup.

Since then, I’ve fished them all on three different bodies of water and have gotten zip in return. The “hottest” lure going has been a bit of a bust for me. So what have I been catching fish on lately? A good ol’ soft plastic worm. Yep, a rig that costs all of about $1.50 has outfished the one that costs more than a 12-pack of beer.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy it or fish it. I’m saying even the “hottest” lure going doesn’t always work. As the old saying goes, most lures are made to catch fishermen, not fish. And in this case it took me hook, line and sinker.

How bout you? Is there a must-have lure you bought that did or didn't live up to it's name? Drop me a line on Twitter and let me know.

(To see the Whopper Plopper in action and catching fish check out this video. It will also give you tips/ideas on what setups to use for it.)

*Jeff Herman is the assistant news director at WMAR | ABC2. His main passion while not at work is fishing. This column is part of a series of columns he writes for our outdoors page. You can read more of his columns here. Follow him on Twitter @JeffABC2News  and @TightLinesABC2